A440 (pitch standard)

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For other uses, see A440.
A440 About this sound Play .

A440, which has a frequency of 440 Hz, is the musical note A above middle C and serves as a general tuning standard for musical pitch.

Prior to the standardization on 440 Hz, many countries and organizations followed the Austrian government's 1885 recommendation of 435 Hz. The American music industry reached an informal standard of 440 Hz in 1926, and some began using it in instrument manufacturing. In 1936 the American Standards Association recommended that the A above middle C be tuned to 440 Hz.[1] This standard was taken up by the International Organization for Standardization in 1955 (reaffirmed by them in 1975) as ISO 16.[2] Although not universally accepted, since then it has served as the audio frequency reference for the calibration of acoustic equipment and the tuning of pianos, violins, and other musical instruments.

A440 is widely used as concert pitch in United Kingdom[3] and the United States. In continental Europe the frequency of A commonly varies between 440 Hz and 444 Hz.[4][5] In the period instrument movement, a consensus has arisen around a modern baroque pitch of 415 Hz (currently, A flat), baroque for some special church music (Chorton pitch) at 466 Hz (A sharp) and classical pitch at 432 Hz.[6]

The A above middle C is sometimes referred to as Concert A. (The C above Concert A is called Concert C.)

5 seconds of sine wave at 440 Hz

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A440 is often used as a tuning reference in just intonation regardless of 1/1 or key. For example, A is common to all stringed instruments.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ George Martin (2008). The Opera Companion. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-57467-168-1. 
  2. ^ ISO 16:1975 Acoustics -- Standard tuning frequency (Standard musical pitch). International Organization for Standardization. 1975. 
  3. ^ Franz Nistl, Table of European orchestra tunes, part 2
  4. ^ Franz Nistl, Table of European orchestra tunes, part 2
  5. ^ Franz Nistl, Table of orchestra tunes
  6. ^ Oxford Composer Companion JS Bach, page 369–372. Oxford University Press, 1999

External links[edit]